Colombian Police Implicated in Assassination Attempt Against National Union Leader

News from Colombia | on: Thursday, 24 April 2008

Two men who attempted to kill Jorge Gamboa, president of the Colombian oil workers' trade union USO, were released by police less than two minutes after they and the gun used in the attempt were handed over to officers. Confusion surrounds the attempted assassination, which took place at 4pm yesterday, after one regional police colonel stated that the two men involved actually work for another police colonel in the region.

According to the USO the two assassins approached Mr Gamboa as he spoke to a large crowd of striking palm oil workers in the town of Yarima in the San Vicente de Chucuri area of Santander department. However, members of the audience and Mr Gamboa's colleagues spotted the two men, one of whom was holding a gun in his hand, and seized them.

Both were subsequently handed over to the local police commander Colonel Polania and his officers. However, although both were put in a police vehicle they were simply driven up the road to a parked motorcycle where they were released. The men then drove off on the motorcycle.

In a further twist to the story Santander police commander Colonel Omar Gonzalez told the Colombian media that the two men were released because they worked for Colonel Polania.

Over 20 Colombian trade unionists have been assassinated so far this year. Trade unions regularly allege that the state security forces are involved in many of the murders.

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